Social Innovation Challenge

May 12, 2022 – November 29, 2022

We are looking for innovations that can make a difference within 18 months.

Social Innovation


Are you an innovative entrepreneur with a passion for change? Do you have a solution that could provide racial and economic equity and to our neighbors in southwestern Pennsylvania? 

UpPrize 2022 is calling for social entrepreneurs to compete for $300,000 in prize money to support the launch or growth of a startup that will solve an issue of racial or economic injustice. Applicants must:

To be eligible to apply:

  • You must be 18 years old or older.
  • The submitting nonprofit, business or individual must be based in one of these counties in Pennsylvania: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington or Westmoreland.
  • You must ensure that your participation does not violate employer’s policies or procedures, or any other third-party rights or obligations (e.g. non-competition agreements).
  • You, and your immediate family members, must not be employed or affiliated with BNY Mellon (UpPrize sponsor), or Innovation Works (that’s us) or any of their/our parent and affiliate companies

Applicant Criteria


  • What is the issue that the business is attempting to address and why? How do you envision your business solving an issue of racial or economic injustice?

Targeted Audience & Location

  • Will the service or product benefit marginalized communities? What area will this service be delivered?


  • Outline the desired impact if funded?

Market Demand

  • Clarify the need of your product or service? Are there any competitors doing similar work? What makes your business innovative and unique?

Financial Sustainability 

  • Is the applicant a LLC, sole proprietor, non-profit organization (501c3 designation) or have a fiscal sponsor?

Leadership Team

  • Does this team have the skill sets and capacity to bring this idea to fruition or to scale?


  • Has the applicant identified potential partners?

Potential for Scale

  • Has the applicant researched or developed revenue models? What are the plans for future partnerships and employee growth?


  • How does this product use technology to provide an innovative solution?

Have questions? Check out our FAQs

Grant Awards:

  1. $150,000 1st place
  2. $100,000 2nd place
  3. $50,000 3rd place

Grant Awards:

  1. $150,000 1st place
  2. $100,000 2nd place
  3. $50,000 3rd place